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Who Invented the Linux-Based Wireless Router? 154

Posted by kdawson
from the depends-on-the-definition-of-'who' dept.
mtaht writes "I've just had the interesting experience of being deposed to talk about one of the first embedded, Linux-based, wireless routers. Our (free!) 1998 publication of how to make one predates patent #7035281, filed September 13, 2000, by someone else. Their patent was recently granted and is now being disputed in court, in part using our how-to as an example of prior art. The lawsuit continues; the case goes before a judge shortly, and a jury trial if necessary is scheduled for the spring. I find myself plagued with the question: So... who invented the embedded Linux based wireless router? What relevance does 'who' have, when there is such an enormous confluence of ideas from thousands of people? What constitutes invention, anyway?"
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Who Invented the Linux-Based Wireless Router?

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    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Did you even read TF Summary? He is the prior art! He's just trying to figure out if there was someone there before him, or how to give credit to those pieces which were already built into the Linux code.
      • by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Friday October 22, 2010 @03:49PM (#33989554) Homepage

        Yep. He's looking for prior art that pre-dates him, and he's asking how to prove and attribute prior art to someone.

        For this, there are some real common mistakes to avoid:
        * You have to find prior art for the claims, not the summary
        * You have to find prior art for *all* the claims
        * Good news is that acceptable forms of prior art include ads, manuals, magazine articles...

        It's not rocket science, but a lot of news stories like this end up wasting people's energy because people contribute their knowledge without knowing these simple rules, and it's all or mostly useless.

        As someone who's spent time scraping slashdot stories with 200+ comments for possible *useful* prior art, I can tell you that a lot of people don't know these basic rules.

        • by Nerdfest (867930)
          Seriously, shouldn't you be able to invalidate a patent by showing prior art for only one claim? They should at least have to re-submit without that claim.
          • an example (Score:4, Interesting)

            by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Friday October 22, 2010 @05:43PM (#33990936) Homepage

            You can invalidate one claim (as it was written) by submitting prior art about that claim.

            "as it was written" because the patent holder gets the chance to reword that claim and resubmit.

            Invalidating one claim can solve your problems, but patents are written like thickets, so there are often many claims that cover a real world product.

            1. A big box
            2. The machine from claim #1, with a tap
            3. The machine from claim #1, with a basin
            4. The machine from claim #2, connected to tubing
            5. The machine from claim #4, where the tubing is waterproof
            6. ...

            When you build a house or a petrol pump and someone says you infringe a patent, it's usually more than one claim.

            Partial invalidation is possible, and might be enough to solve your problem, but it's a broad task. It's not the "Hey, this looks like the thing I saw in 2003" task that many people think it is.

    • by mtaht (603670)
      Thank you! this is excellent, so far.
      • I was just reading the patent. It's a strange one. I can't see any difference between claims #2 and #3.

        It seems to be a software patent. The hardware elements claimed are all non-innovative.

        I've started a wiki page for it here. Not sure if this will turn into an article about the court case or about the patent, but this case seems to provide interesting examples of a few topics.

        http://en.swpat.org/wiki/US7035281 [swpat.org]

        (I'm working on it now, but have to shutdown very soon. Should get to flesh it out tomorrow.)

  • wuh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Friday October 22, 2010 @02:18PM (#33988224) Homepage Journal

    I thought we just resolved this in the last story. Vint Cerf invented it and the lawsuits are his fault.

  • by kurokame (1764228) on Friday October 22, 2010 @02:22PM (#33988280)

    Does it have Linux on it? --no--> Install Linux. Is Linux installed? --no--> Modify Linux until you can install it. ----> Install Linux.

    It's Linux. Installing it is always obvious.

    • by tepples (727027)

      Is Linux installed? --no--> Modify Linux until you can install it.

      That can prove difficult if a device won't execute a kernel until it has verified the RSA-encrypted secure hash of the kernel. Have you updated your flowchart to account for methods that have become commonplace to "secure" appliances such as home routers and pocket-size computers?

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Replace its boot loader, this may take hardware modification.

        • by tepples (727027)
          Good luck replacing a boot loader whose first stage is stored in ROM on the same die as the CPU.
          • by tagno25 (1518033)
            Replace CPU with one bought from Digikey, Mouser, or other large part seller.
            • by tepples (727027)

              Replace CPU with one bought from Digikey, Mouser, or other large part seller.

              And then find that this CPU has not only a custom BGA pinout but also a GPU and other *thbridge-integrated components on the same die. So by that time, you could have bought yourself a BeagleBoard or reserved a Pandora PDA [openpandora.org] instead of modding an appliance.

            • Replace CPU with one bought from Digikey, Mouser, or other large part seller.

              So - we need a bigger CPU? Alright, alright, I had to intentionally mis-read your post to come up with that, but hey, BIGGER is always BETTER, right?

  • by popo (107611) on Friday October 22, 2010 @02:23PM (#33988294) Homepage

    Every new platform (almost by definition of the term "platform") allows it to be married to myriad other technologies. Unfortunately the USPTO does not seem to understand that each one of these secondary permutations does not (should not) constitute "invention".

    But ultimately -- the answer, like most answers to legal questions, isn't a matter of who's right and who's wrong, or even "what is the truth?". The answer depends on who has the combination of legal-budget and willpower to pursue the patent.

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday October 22, 2010 @02:43PM (#33988590) Homepage

      Every new platform (almost by definition of the term "platform") allows it to be married to myriad other technologies. Unfortunately the USPTO does not seem to understand that each one of these secondary permutations does not (should not) constitute "invention".

      And, that's the problem with patenting some of these things. I fail to see how that patent should be allowed to stand.

      Routers existed. Linux existed. Wireless existed. Hell, TFA sums it up very nicely:

      My mental question remains. Did Greg, Everett and I really invent the embedded Linux based wireless router?

      All we did, basically, was take code that already existed, compile a new driver, install a board, make a few cables, and prove such a box could stay running in a world where people trusted IOS. We're just the first people that bothered to plug in a wireless card into a junked PC, boot Linux off of a floppy, run wirelessly 13.1 miles and then publish how to make it work, in plain english, a howto a more general public, and even a patent lawyer, could understand.

      Amusingly enough, our little howto hung off the far end of that wireless connection for years, dissipating electrons in the airwaves, for every one of the tens of thousands of hits we ultimately got. Everybody ate from our dogfood, in other words.

      They didn't "invent" anything. They did do something new, and then they shared it like nice people. I just fail to see how putting together three existing technologies in what is a fairly logical configuration merits a patent.

      I hope this patent gets dismissed. Of course, that would only be one of bazillions of patents which make no sense whatsoever.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by slinches (1540051)

        They didn't "invent" anything. They did do something new, and then they shared it like nice people. I just fail to see how putting together three existing technologies in what is a fairly logical configuration merits a patent.

        I'm not so sure it's that simple. Nearly every mechanical device invented has just been a combination of simple machines in different configurations. I think the distinction between invention and merely an alternative application is whether the item being patented provides a new capability or one that is significantly improved.

        Using this case as a hypothetical example. If there were already wireless routers running a proprietary OS and the OS was just replaced with another that provided similar functiona

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by gstoddart (321705)

          I'm not so sure it's that simple.

          Nothing ever is, which is why we like to come to Slashdot to discuss it. ;-)

          Nearly every mechanical device invented has just been a combination of simple machines in different configurations.

          Yes, that's true. And I don't mean to say people never truly invent things because all machines can be reduced to the lever, wheel, ramp, or its other base components. I'm saying that sometimes when it's applied to software, one finds oneself looking at a patent that says "method for d

        • by cgenman (325138)

          The internet is (mostly) routed off of *nix boxes. Someone then created wireless routing. Wireless routing through Linux is pretty much a no-brainer at that point. Not because it's obvious, but because that's basically how you would do it. Wireless routing on Linux is about as revolutionary as someone invents the house made of wood, then someone patents the house made of wood built with a hammer.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by noidentity (188756)
      Woah, I just had this new idea for an invention: a Linux-based wireless router that has TWO power connections, instead of just one. I need to go patent this great, innovative idea right now.
      • by Machtyn (759119)
        I don't know... I think you'll be infringing on my patent of a Linux-based wireless router that has X-number power connections and Y-number antennas.
    • The patent office does not care about your patent. Never did, and never will.
      It just cares about the patent application, its form and fees. It is up to the patent applicator to enforce the patent and ensure there wasn't prior art.

      If there was, the spent money on the patent and the lawyers is a waste, but it does not come out of the patent office pockets. Actually, everybody makes money in a situation like this, except for the patent applicator.

    • by NFN_NLN (633283)

      Every new platform (almost by definition of the term "platform") allows it to be married to myriad other technologies. Unfortunately the USPTO does not seem to understand that each one of these secondary permutations does not (should not) constitute "invention".

      But ultimately -- the answer, like most answers to legal questions, isn't a matter of who's right and who's wrong, or even "what is the truth?". The answer depends on who has the combination of legal-budget and willpower to pursue the patent.

      I think the confusion stems from Ben Franklin who invented the "Franklin Stove" by marrying two cutting edge pieces of technology: a stove and a fucking door.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_stove [wikipedia.org]

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Hooya (518216)

        > by marrying ... a stove and a fucking door.

        If the stove didn't consent to the marriage it might be declared null and void. It might even constitute a criminal rape charge if the door had actually performed coitus as a "fucking door" is wont to do.

        Didn't know Ben Franklin was kinky..

  • Obviousness? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fnkmaster (89084) on Friday October 22, 2010 @02:25PM (#33988320)

    Do they have to prove exact prior art, if they can prove that the differences between the prior art and the patent are obvious to a practitioner of the art?

    A patent really should only cover non-obvious extensions of existing ideas. As the guy himself states, there was nothing in what he did that was particularly non-obvious to any person who did networking at the time, so it's silly that it should even be patentable, let alone an example of prior art. Rather, their effort just happened to occur at a point in time where wireless networking was just being introduced.

    So why on earth should merely combining the words "embedded", "Linux", "wireless" and "router" make something patentable? These are not novel combinations that required a leap of creative insight, but rather extremely straightforward and obvious combinations.

    • So why on earth should merely combining the words "embedded", "Linux", "wireless" and "router" make something patentable?

      Ah, but now that you have combined these words, you are infringing on my copyright to the phrase "embedded Linux wireless router"! I demand reparations for this flagrant misappropriation of my intellectual property!

      (Sure, I'm being silly, but I'm also trying to point out the inherent ridiculousness of these attempts at "owning" ideas.)

      Cheers,

    • by DeadboltX (751907)
      Exactly.

      Imagine that chronologically white bread came first, and then sliced white bread, and then wheat bread. Well now someone has come along and patented sliced wheat bread. We already have wheat bread, and we already have sliced bread, isn't sliced wheat bread a logical next step?

      We already had embedded linux devices, and linux wireless routers, why is combining these two things patentable?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Grond (15515)

      Do they have to prove exact prior art, if they can prove that the differences between the prior art and the patent are obvious to a practitioner of the art?

      Proving obviousness requires showing that all of the elements of the claimed invention exist in the prior art or can be shown to be within the common sense or common creativity of one having ordinary skill in the art at the time. As you might imagine, there's a lot of subjectivity to the 'common sense or common creativity' part, but there must still be

      • Is it me, or does the USPTO simply suck at finding prior art? I'm not saying it's their fault, I'm simply saying it's difficult for them to sift through huge amounts of data for each patent looking for the prior art that may invalidate said patent.

        • Re:Obviousness? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Grond (15515) on Friday October 22, 2010 @04:21PM (#33989938) Homepage

          Is it me, or does the USPTO simply suck at finding prior art? I'm not saying it's their fault, I'm simply saying it's difficult for them to sift through huge amounts of data for each patent looking for the prior art that may invalidate said patent.

          There are several reasons for this. One reason is that most examiners are inexperienced. Right now something like 80% of examiners have been working for the PTO for less than 3 years [patentlyo.com]. Only about 7% have been working there for more than 10.

          Another reason is that, particularly with regard to software and software-related inventions, the PTO has a hard time recruiting qualified examiners. A big reason for this is that examiners have to live in the Alexandria, VA area, which is about as far as you can get from the west coast IT industry.

          I've also heard that examiners don't have the resources they need to do a proper search of the non-patent literature, but I don't have any hard data on that.

          And, of course, sometimes patent applicants represent their invention one way during prosecution but then try to use it differently during litigation. For example, I believe Yahoo was sued or at least threatened for something to do with its maps website by a company that had a patent on using a computer to map...migratory birds. The claims appeared to read on Yahoo Maps, but it was quite apparent from the application as a whole that the invention was unrelated to anything Yahoo was doing. There's really not much the PTO can do about that.

          • Possible solutions:

            1) The USPTO needs satellite offices in tech hotbeds. San Francisco/Palo Alto, Austin, etc. Bring them to Alexandria for training, but have them work collaboratively remotely.

            2) Contract with Google to build an app that manages the patent application workflow. Have it crawl for data that may indicate prior art, etc.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            I've also heard that examiners don't have the resources they need to do a proper search of the non-patent literature, but I don't have any hard data on that.

            The patent office blocks google on their work computers?

          • by mengel (13619) <mengel.users@sourceforge@net> on Friday October 22, 2010 @04:52PM (#33990368) Homepage Journal

            A while back, I signed onto the peer-to-patent website for awhile, and tried to add some prior art references. I tried to refer the patent examiners to a Communications of the ACM article from 20 years ago, and they said they didn't have access to that and I'd have to get them a PDF(!) Similarly they couldn't seem to come up with a copy of Karrels & McKusic et al. to see what was in 4.3BSD a quarter century ago. I mean, they ought to have a library, right? As a public service, I got an ACM membership again for a year so I could pull down the ACM article and give them a copy...

            How are they going to recognize a rehash of old ideas if they don't even have the basic reference materials?

      • by Cylix (55374) *

        I was doing wireless routing prior to 98.

        It just happened to be more expensive then it is now. The wireless devices merely formed the bridge link and then behind the link was an actually ipchains set of rules. It was quite a simple little nat box with some static routes to here and there. Embedded devices and linux were not a new concept then, but hardware support was certainly not as good as it is now.

        Really the limitation of the day was having access to cheap commodity hardware and not access to the ideas

    • by hackingbear (988354) on Friday October 22, 2010 @03:07PM (#33988944)

      All ideas, novel or not, are combination of prior ideas. And are certainly expressed in combination of existing words and shapes.

      The fundamental challenge for the patent office, and those who are against patents, is that criteria like obviousness, similarity (need to prove assimilation to prior arts,) creativeness, etc. are fundamentally subjective. One could claim Einstein's Theory of Relativity is trivial and obvious, after hearing the details of the Theory; yet it was Einstein, and not billions of people before him in human history, that nailed down the Theory.

      I don't think non-subjective definitions of these terms exist. At the end, these come down to who can argue better on a case by case basis.

      • by Fnkmaster (89084)

        Of course those terms are subjective. But there is a very significant different between something like Relativity, that required (at the time) both a creative leap and connecting obscure mathematics with physical intuition, and combining several elements in a manner that is entirely within their design parameters.

        In other words, I would agree that there are obviously many borderline cases that are questionable and need to be debated and argued. But I believe the Theory of Relativity unarguably required a

  • This is good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by countSudoku() (1047544) on Friday October 22, 2010 @02:25PM (#33988322) Homepage

    Our submitter is doing the right thing here; testifying against a company that tried to patent an already freely available idea. No patent should be allowed to protect this device's software. The hardware is a separate issue. Thanks for doing the right thing!

  • It depends on what they're claiming.

    I don't have time to read TFA or TFP, but I'm guessing that their implementation does not fit entirely within your list of suggestions.

    If they're claiming everything, they were probably wrong in the first place, since your description would have relied on a lot of stuff that was public knowledge anyway.

    But most patents are overbroad and depend on prior patents and common knowledge. It will probably come down to a detail that nobody has included before.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      Okay, now I've had time (I had to pee), and no, they're not the same thing. Some of the claims will succeed.

      Though what's more interesting is that they call their software box "UNIX-derived".

      Which may be a problem for Linus Torvalds...and a boon to SCO...

      • "UNIX-derived".

        Is that marketing speak, or part of the actual patent?

        If it was part of the patent, I would think that it would violate the whole of it. Linux is not Unix Derived. Because it is not Linux Derived, it has no bearing on Linux or SCO other than it was someone saying something that was factually incorrect.

        • by tepples (727027)

          Is that marketing speak, or part of the actual patent?

          The former. I read the first claim, which the lawsuit reproduces in full. It does not limit the scope to operating systems that implement APIs listed in the Single UNIX Specification.

  • was this story designed to create an infinite loop in readers brains or what?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Devide? It's spelled "divide." What the hell happened to English class in this country?

  • "A Method and Process of using Linux to do Stuff with Things."

    World domination follows . . .

  • Fireplug Computers (Score:5, Informative)

    by rcpitt (711863) on Friday October 22, 2010 @02:30PM (#33988400) Homepage Journal
    Stuart Lynne and I were partners in Canada's first ISP, Wimsey.COM

    After we sold that company - and the purchaser tanked, we started up Fireplug Computers Inc. doing Linux for embedded devices, including "Thin-Linux" which was specifically oriented to being a router. I ran a version of that on a 486 system until it finally died earlier this year.

    We had wireless capabilities in this, with drivers for a couple of the then available wireless chips.

    Fireplug was sold to Lineo Inc. in 1999 - and I'm fairly sure that Lineo did some work on Linux wireless too.

  • Who cares? (Score:5, Funny)

    by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki AT cox DOT net> on Friday October 22, 2010 @02:34PM (#33988462)

    I say we find everyone who submitted patent ideas before 2002 and buy them a drink.

    Nothing's been more of a driver of IT support than those awful little boxes. Thanks for the job security guys!

  • There were 802.11 networks serving whole cities by the late '90s. All you needed was a high gain dish and line-of-sight. These guys [cwx.net] were up and running in 1999. Every one of them had some form of *nix based "wireless router" setup. My own was FreeBSD, so clearly that has no relevance to a patent for something as brilliant as an integrated Linux wireless router.

    • Re:How novel (Score:4, Informative)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Friday October 22, 2010 @02:52PM (#33988716) Homepage

      My own was FreeBSD, so clearly that has no relevance to a patent for something as brilliant as an integrated Linux wireless router.

      Actually, in the technical drawings they claim it to be a "Router CPU with UNIX derivative operating system" -- so, your FreeBSD would have violated this patent if it didn't exist before the patent was filed.

      I still continue to be baffled by patents. They invented none of "embedded", "wireless", linux" or "router". Doing it for the first time is cool (and mad props to the guys who were doing this and might bust this patent), but assembling well known components to do a well known job, but in a brand new configuration is an application of technology, not an invention.

  • by Diesel Dave (95048) on Friday October 22, 2010 @02:35PM (#33988476)

    Certainly not the very first ever made, but likely the first mainsteam implementation that was available.

    I had a 2U 386SX 16Mhz Workstation with full length ISA 900MHz WaveLAN card, that ran LRP off 3.5" 1.44MB.
    Host name was 'Brain-Damage'. Some of the first LRP development was done on that back in 1997.

    The boys over in Latvia that went on to form RouterBoard were doing much more then me with wireless but I'm not sure if it was with Linux at the time.

    Dave

    • by b0bby (201198)

      Yeah, LRP was what came to my mind too. Ah, the good old days...

    • Well, you've got me beat. Best I can offer is an NT4 Server based router circa 1998. However, I don't think I added a wireless card to it until about 2001. And then ditched the whole setup for a retail router and wireless bridge shortly thereafter. Problem is, I didn't document any of this. I was just another college dropout at the time, and if I could do it, it certainly ought to qualify as obvious to "one skilled in the art." However, I don't think the USPTO has any sense of that phrase whatsoever.

      I

    • LRP had the wireless drivers, a menu interface for routing configuration and was also embed-able, running off a read only boot medium.
      The OP is asking for these specific things, and LRP had it out of the box, though I'd have to check exactly when the first wireless drivers made it in.

      So LRP it was an existing distributed 'product', not a one-off box someone made. The former gives grounds to invalidate the patent.

      Dave

  • whatever the judge at the highest level court that will hear your case says it is.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cm613 (1493893)
      If and only if you can afford to fight your way there. If not it is what the other guy, with the established business, says it is.
  • I admit... (Score:3, Funny)

    by AchilleTalon (540925) on Friday October 22, 2010 @02:40PM (#33988558) Homepage
    I did it.
    • by guruevi (827432)

      I did it earlier. I remember doing it when I was young (the early to mid-90's) with a WaveLAN card. If I remember correctly, it had only 1 Mbit/s throughput or so (our coaxed LAN was very fast at ~8 Mbit/s) and was very susceptible to the newfangled "magnetron oven" being used by my mother. The card actually did not have Windows 95 drivers so we had to add the drivers in the DOS environment (config.sys & autoexec.bat) and use DR-WebSpyder instead of Internet Exploder.

  • by PCM2 (4486) on Friday October 22, 2010 @02:46PM (#33988630) Homepage

    The patent in question seems to be for something specific and somewhat different from a regular ol' Linux wireless router, like we all use. Particulars from the patent text (all emphasis mine):

    • The device acts to provide connectivity between wireless backbone access points
    • It is a primary objective of the present invention to provide a piece of wireless equipment that can effectively connect a large WAN
    • Still another objective of the present invention is to provide wireless connections designed for outdoor use and flexible security

    There are other particulars, but this seems more like something to provide large-scale outdoor wireless infrastructure than simple home routing. The diagrams also show little pictures of houses being served by multiple routers as described in the patent.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Still another objective of the present invention is to provide wireless connections designed for outdoor use and flexible security

      Tell me more about these weather-proof radio waves and where I can purchase one.

      • The 2.4GHz band used by wifi doesn't go through water (i.e. rain) very well. Therefore they could be described as not being weather-proof. I think the 5GHz band doesn't have this problem, and so could be described as being weatherproof.

        What?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wiredlogic (135348)

      You just quoted excerpts from the summary of the invention. It goes through such drivel as explaining the OSI model and other known-in-the-art fluff intended to bog down the examiner. That text has no bearing on the validity of the patent. The claims are all that matter, with claim 1 being the most important. That claim doesn't cover any new ground and just mentions an obvious combination of networking components, packet routing, and an authentication mechanism as provided by the 802.11 standard.

  • It's ridiculous that something like this could even be patented in the first place. Routers existed. Wireless existed. How obvious is a wireless router?
    • I thought about this problem a lot about 25, 30 years ago. How do patent examiners recognize innovation unless they already know pretty much everything under current development in each particular field?

      I think some ambulance-chaser-turned-congress-critter must have been thinking about the problem and recognized the implications back then, got himself on the right committee, and started deliberately underfunding the PTO and doing other things to keep them from bringing in competent examiners. I do recall re

  • IEEE 802.11 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jklovanc (1603149) on Friday October 22, 2010 @02:48PM (#33988664)

    How can someone get a patent on an obvious implementation of a new standard, in this case 802.11? I wonder if Anthony Spearman or Andrew Tompkins had any access or input into the standard? I wonder if they were part of the standards process but realized they couldn't patent the standard so the patented the implementation.

  • Claims in HTML (Score:5, Informative)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday October 22, 2010 @02:52PM (#33988710) Homepage Journal

    a TIFF? Seriously?

    via Patent Storm [patentstorm.us]:

    Claims

    What is claimed is:

    1. A wireless provisioning device for use in public domain networks wherein the wireless provisioning device is accessible by a user of mobile computing devices, comprising:

    a chassis;

    at least one network card;

    at least one wireless card;

    at least one processor;

    an operating system, the operating system operably configured in the chassis to control the at least one, network card, the at least one wireless card and the at least one processor, which are operatively coupled with the chassis;

    a packet-switched interface capable of receiving a multiplicity of inbound framed packet-data to provide inbound packets and transmitting a multiplicity of outbound framed packet-data comprising outbound packets;

    a channeling controller, coupled to the packet-switched interface that channels the inbound packets based on the inbound address information and constructs the outbound packets and channels the outbound packets with the outbound address information, the channeling controller capable of being effectively connected to at least one network via the operating system; and

    an authenticator in operative communication with the operating system to allow authentication at the wireless provisioning device;

    whereby the user of a mobile computing device connects to the wireless provisioning device without having to first access the Internet.

    2. The wireless provisioning device of claim 1, wherein the channeling controller routes the outbound packets.

    3. The wireless provisioning device of claim 2, wherein the channeling controller routes the outbound packets.

    4. The wireless provisioning device of claim 1, wherein the channeling controller bridges the inbound packets.

    5. The wireless provisioning device of claim 4, wherein the channeling controller bridges the outbound packets.

    6. The wireless provisioning device of claim 1, wherein the operating system of the wireless provisioning device is an open source UNIX based system.

    7. The wireless provisioning device of claim 1, wherein the wireless provisioning device further comprises a second processor.

    8. The wireless provisioning device of claim 1, wherein the wireless provisioning device further comprises a memory device and a storage device.

    9. The wireless provisioning device of claim 1, wherein the network card, the wireless cord, the processor, the operating system, the packet-switched interface, and the channel controller are operatively disposed within the chassis of the wireless provisioning device.

    10. The wireless provision device of claim 9, wherein the authenticator is operatively disposed within the chassis of the wireless provisioning device.

    11. The wireless provisioning device of claim 1, wherein bandwidth to individual user can be controlled by the wireless provisioning device operating system.

    12. The wireless provisioning device of claim 1, wherein the protocol type of an individual user con be controlled by the wireless provisioning device operating system.

    13. A wireless provisioning device, comprising:

    a chassis;

    at least one network card;

    at least one wireless card;

    at least one processor;

    a LINUX operating system, the operating system operably configured in the chassis to control the at least one network card, the at least one wireless card and the at least one processor;

    a packet-switched interface capable of receiving a multiplicity of inbound framed packet-data to provide inbound packets and transmitting a multiplicity of outbound framed packet-data comprising outbound packets;

    a channeling controller, coupled to the packet-switched interface that channels the inbound packets based on the inbound address information and that constructs the outbound packets and channels the outbound packets with the outbound address information,

  • ReseauCitoyen.be (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Scotch42 (1120577) on Friday October 22, 2010 @02:54PM (#33988742) Homepage
    we did that at ReseauCitoyen.be several years ago. At that time there was nothing nor on the Internet nor elsewhere... We never claimed invention for that as this was obvious for us who where in the field... But we build some devices... We had some design published as public domain ones in hope to see them builded by corporations. And finally that was the case. So I can not understand that someone is now claiming a patent on such kind of ideas... PS: I'm not an english language native, so forgive some faults in my wording!
    • by dasdrewid (653176)

      NO! BURN IN HELL FOR'NER!

      Kidding! Don't worry about it, it's much better English than probably most of the people on here can do French. If you care, the only things incorrect are the two "nor"s in your first sentence and the way you conjugate "to build" ("built" being the past tense you want instead of "build" and "builded" as you have). Also, I guess you do need an "s" on the end of "design", as "some" requires a plural noun to go with it and "design" is still singular.

      And I'm done being a nit-picking j

  • Nice Job (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 22, 2010 @02:57PM (#33988784)

    Just an FYI. You just tainted your testimony. Anyone reasonably worth his/her salt as a lawyer looks online to watch discussion of it by witnesses. If there is enough "chatter" your testimony can be thrown into a very poor light. Remember, if you are an expert, why are you asking a bunch of internet board posters what you need to tell a judge?

    • Re:Nice Job (Score:4, Informative)

      by nickersonm (1646933) on Friday October 22, 2010 @03:52PM (#33989602)

      He already gave his deposition in August. It seems that he is simply asking the question here because he is curious. IANAL and have no idea if that can affect the use of it in the future, though.

      From the blog:

      After giving my deposition, I've thought deeply about what happened in wireless and Linux from 1998 forward, and done a bit of independent research. I figure, maybe, by publishing what I know so far, more of the history and prior art behind the "embedding Linux in a wireless router" idea will come to light, and head off the second patent at the pass.

      Also note that he's asking for different examples, not about the example that he is the source of.

    • Not necessarily. All he's asking is who was first. Once he knows that, he can search for specific documentation relevant to that fact. That documentation is what would be presented to the court/board/triumvirate/whatever at the patent office.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mtaht (603670)
      I am aware of the problems I may have introduced by speaking openly about the case, if it comes to a jury trial. However, I was engaged as a fact witness, not as an expert witness, and a deposition was also taken from the co-author of the howto. In that light, I felt it ok to ask the questions of my "tribe", publicly, that plague me, in the hope that I (and others) might learn from them. I am grateful to all the commenters here today that have taken time out to discuss the issues to the best of their kn
  • Wasn't it Al Gore?
  • by Temkin (112574) on Friday October 22, 2010 @03:12PM (#33989018)

    The ampr.org domain dates to April 1988. Phil Karn's KA9Q NOS claims to date back to 1985. I know I established a routed connection from the east bay to Cupertino via a KA9Q "router" in San Jose using 1200 baud modems on 2m VHF radio around 1990 or 1991, and I was just repeating work that everyone else was doing.

    Temkin

    • by reiisi (1211052)

      Yeah, just how different is a current router from the old ham data relays?

      • by Temkin (112574)

        Yeah, just how different is a current router from the old ham data relays?

        KA9Q NOS was a MS-DOS application running on a full size PC. It could route between a SLIP connection from the Internet to a HF/VHF/UHF radio "network", thought it was illegal to set up such a configuration. It was a reasonably full featured TCP/IP implementation, but there wasn't a lot of ability to add services. I think it had the ability to telnet out, and host FTP. It may have had naming services and possibly something like gopher, but that's not really needed to be prior art. What it was is TCP/I

  • I tend to prefer reserving the term "invention" for where the bulk of the work is totally new and "innovation" for where the bulk of the work is simply a refinement on something that already exists. (Under this definition, there is very little in the way of true invention, which is actually quite realistic. True inventors are extremely rare.)

    However, these are not the legal definitions. In this situation, it is the legal definitions that matter, no matter how anyone else defines the terms or how rational or

  • In our economy: Invention is the right to a revenue stream if you can afford patent law litigation.
  • Wow. So whoever is first to put an operating system on a computer gets to patent that? That somehow that combination is magical and to be serious again for a second "no one in the industry would have thought that doing such a thing would be obvious"? No, wrong, fail. Die software patents. Just die. I don't care if they are in Linux's favor or not. All of them need to die, and most or all "normal" patents too.
  • Just remembering and poking around, I found these guys [rage.net] that were running wireless Linux routers in October 98.

    The Open-WRT project was soliciting ideas at least in 1999.

    Someone at HP was working [hp.com] on this in 1996. I don't know how far they got before 1998.

    I'm suspecting there were other projects back then making good progress. But I can't tell how applicable these are. The HP project is sure interesting.

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